It makes no financial sense whatsoever to take 4 firkins of beer all the way to London. Even with several cases of beer as well it is still a dubious commercial trip. It is 295 miles there and 295 miles back again. That's 2 tanks of diesel at a total cost of about £120. It's about 6 hours driving time each way and at least one nights stop over. It really is completely bonkers and only an insane idiot would consider such a stupid idea. A sensible person would consider a courier. But I'm not sensible and never have been, so we took beer to London.
The Rake was the venue at which to host my beer's debut in our great capital city. That cosy left field beer bar that never ever fails to provide me with something new every time I go in. "No Crap on Tap" it says above the bar. I always find that to be true, but a place where crap beer certainly isn't tolerated.
The night had been advertised on other blogs like RabidBarFly and Pete Brown. Reports of the night have been done by Mark Dredge and Sid Boggle. Thank you to all who helped to promote the night including the many on twitter that re-tweeted and generally communicated about the event. Cool Fusion ran out before I left and Continuum was close. The other two beers, being stronger, didn't go so fast, but I think that they still went well and I'd assume they sold the next couple of days.
We also did some tastings of Æther Blæc and even better Granite with Keen's cheddar, which we think worked well. I'd have liked to have tried it with smoked cheese after a discussion I'd seen on twitter between Barry and Tania about cigars and beer, but unfortunately none could be found on the market.
I was nervous about how my beer would be received, some influential people from the beer world would be there. I knew that a couple of the beers had been complete buggers to get to drop bright, I know why and a post on that subject will be forthcoming. I took isinglass, finings adjunct and all manner of useful concoctions with me, but failed to leave any with Glyn. In the end we still never got the beer bright, which worried me.
It seems I needn't have worried, everyone was really understanding and loved the beer anyway. Great London beer people like John Keeling and Phil Lowry turned up and even people out of town, like Pete Brissenden. I felt like I was among friends and made new friends with the beer ticking community who were there in force. I'm still left feeling like I could do better, but there will be another time and the beer will be improved. I might even introduce some Amarillo hops next time, just to please Mark.
So, am I mad? you bet, but I'm glad we did it, it was a great night. I'm not sure I have a clear memory of the end of the night however, but trying pints of each beer, with and without sparkler, might just have been my downfall. Oh and a run along the gas taps, half pint of each. I'd also failed to charge up my camera battery, so by the time I'd recharged it the evening had almost finished, most people had gone and I was not in the most creative of photography moods.